Memorial Hospital of Converse County continuously works toward patient centered care and advanced technology.
By focusing on these two key elements we believe that we improve the lives and health of our community every day! Our radiology unit routinely uses full-field digital mammography to better detect and diagnose early stages of breast cancer.
Early detection and diagnosis has been shown time and again to be a key asset to both treating breast cancer and saving lives. The quality of care our providers give in our facility is consistently ranked by our patients as excellent, and we work to provide a comfortable and welcoming environment to better care for our patients.
Who should get a mammogram?
The American Cancer Society offers the following guidelines regarding mammograms and screening for breast cancer.
- Women ages 40 and older with an average risk for breast cancer should get mammograms every year.
- Women Under 40 who are at an increased risk for breast cancer.
All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, and potential harms linked to breast cancer screening. They also should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away.
Some women—because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors—should be screened with MRIs along with mammograms. (The number of women who fall into this category is very small.) Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk for breast cancer and the best screening plan for you.
Why should you get routine mammograms?
Annual mammograms can detect cancer early—when it is most treatable. In fact, mammograms show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Mammograms can also prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers and improve chances of breast conservation. Current guidelines from the American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society, and the Society for Breast Imaging recommend that women receive annual mammograms starting at age 40—even if they have no symptoms or family history of breast cancer.
Who is most at risk for breast cancer?
According to the CDC, studies have shown that your risk for breast cancer is due to a combination of factors. The main factors that influence your risk include being a woman and getting older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 or older.
Some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease. Most women have some risk factors, but most women do not get breast cancer. If you have risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways you can lower your risk and about screening for breast cancer.
Risk factors include—
- Getting older. The risk for breast cancer increases with age; most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50.
- Genetic mutations. Inherited changes (mutations) to certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase risk. Women who have inherited these genetic changes are at higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- Early menstrual period. Women who start their periods before age 12 are exposed to hormones longer, raising the risk for breast cancer by a small amount.
- Late or no pregnancy. Having the first pregnancy after age 30 and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise breast cancer risk.
- Starting menopause after age 55. Like starting one’s period early, being exposed to estrogen hormones for a longer time later in life also raises the risk of breast cancer.
- Not being physically active. Women who are not physically active have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
- Being overweight or obese after menopause. Older women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than those at a normal weight.
- Having dense breasts. Dense breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue, which can sometimes make it hard to see tumors on a mammogram. Women with dense breasts are more likely to get breast cancer.
- Using combination hormone therapy. Taking hormones to replace missing estrogen and progesterone in menopause for more than five years raises the risk for breast cancer. The hormones that have been shown to increase risk are estrogen and progestin when taken together.
- Taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills). Certain forms of oral contraceptive pills have been found to raise breast cancer risk.
- Personal history of breast cancer. Women who have had breast cancer are more likely to get breast cancer a second time.
- Personal history of certain noncancerous breast diseases. Some noncancerous breast diseases such as atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ are associated with a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
- Family history of breast cancer. A woman's risk for breast cancer is higher if she has a mother, sister or daughter (first-degree relative), or multiple family members on either her side of the family who have had breast cancer. Having a first-degree male relative with breast cancer also raises a woman's risk.
- Previous treatment using radiation therapy. Women who had radiation therapy to the chest or breasts (such as treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma) before age 30 have a higher risk of getting breast cancer later in life.
- Women who took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), which was given to some pregnant women in the United States between 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage, have a higher risk. Women whose mothers took DES while pregnant with them are also at risk.
- Drinking alcohol. Studies show that a woman's risk for breast cancer increases with the more alcohol she drinks.
Research suggests that other factors such as smoking, being exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer, and night shift working also may increase breast cancer risk.
If you have questions or would like to schedule a Mammogram please contact our main office at 307.358.2122 and speak with Cindy Perry in our Mammography and Imaging Department in Wyoming.